Programme And Module Handbook
Programme Specification

Date Specification Approved 15/11/2020
College College Social Sciences
School School of Social Policy
Department Soc Policy, Sociology & Crimin
Partner College and School
Collaborative Organisation and Form of Collaboration
Qualification and Programme Title B.A. Social Policy with Year Abroad Full-time
Programme Code 9698
Delivery Location Campus
Language of Study English
Length of Programme 4 Year(s)
Accreditations This programme has no outside accreditations
Aims of the Programme The social policy degree at Birmingham enables students to understand, in welfare terms, the process of 'who gets what, how and why?' in society. Social policy studies the way societies determine the various basic human needs of their populations and the arrangements that are made to meet those needs. Such needs include having sufficient to eat, somewhere to live, a sustainable and safe environment, good health and health care, provision for those who cannot live a fully independent life, education and training and the opportunity for individuals to fully participate in their society. The social policy and administration benchmark statement makes clear that the subject is concerned to understand the ways in which social provision is organised through various structures and systems of distribution, redistribution, regulation, provision and empowerment. At Birmingham, students undertake compulsory modules where they must relate theoretical analysis and empirical research to the operation and impact of social policies at institutional, national and international levels. Students learn to recognise the importance of different and competing values and the contribution of concepts such as power, income and wealth, values and beliefs, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and culture to the policy process. The multi-disciplinary approach of the social policy degree also offers an introduction to the broader intellectual traditions and various perspectives of the social and economic history. Students learn to become more critically aware, to develop analytical and research skills that enable them to become active and informed citizens, capable of participating effectively in policy and political processes, to be well equipped for participation in their communities and in the world of work. Each level is allocated an overall theme and a focus. The intention is to develop knowledge and skills at each level based on those acquired at the previous stage. Level 1 is designed to provide a broad introduction to the study of social policy and its constituent disciplines. The theme, asking and raising questions in social policy, is concerned with raising awareness about social policies and society. The focus is on the broad field of study that is social policy, social problems and the various approaches to dealing with human needs. In addition students study the nature of knowledge, the historical development of social policy, the importance of economics, sociology, politics and an understanding of decision making and the policy-making process. Transferable skills are also developed: bibliographic, writing, presenting, observing, reading, note-taking, examination techniques and uses of IT. Level 2 builds on the introductory material in level 1; the theme is examining the resources that are available to address social policy questions. Students study social theories and various perspectives on society, they investigate conflict and interest groups. The role of politics and policy-making as a way of mediating between different interests is also explored. The importance comparative social policies, global perspectives and trans-national relationships are established at this stage. Social research techniques and an understanding of their limitations, builds on the finding out about social policy in level 1 and prepares students for their research-based dissertation in the final year. Students learn of the scope of social policy enquiry and select optional modules that fit with the themes of level 2 and level 3.Level 3 has more student-centered choice built into the programme; the theme is the application of questions and the use of knowledge about the resources available to specific social problems. In addition the optional choices available to students at level 3 require the application of theories and concepts to institutions (e.g. health services) and/or particular groups of users (e.g. disabled people) The focus of the final year is to operationalise.
Programme Outcomes
Students are expected to have Knowledge and Understanding of: Which will be gained through the following Teaching and Learning methods: and assessed using the following methods:
The scope, contested nature and developemt of social policy
The broad range of theoretical and social perspectives; how society and important features of the social are conceptualised
Research methodologies and the limitations of social research
The policy process
Specialist areas within social policy.
Lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, presentations, student-led discussion groups, individual and group project work, observation visits.
1. Essays
2. Unseen examinations
3. Reports
4. Individual presentations
5. Group presentations
6. Literature reviews
7. Research outline
8. Research project (dissertation)
9. Learning diaries/self-evaluation reports1-6 and 81-81-81-6
Students are expected to have attained the following Skills and other Attributes: Which will be gained through the following Teaching and Learning methods: and assessed using the following methods:
Team based working
Writing skills essays, reports, briefing papers
Oral communication skills
Skills of critical analysis, logic and argument
Working with data
Reflecting on their own learning
Integrate and synthesise knowledge from a range of disciplines and apply it to particular policy problems.
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